A VISION AND THE MISSION FOR: THE FUTURE LAW ENFORCEMENT LEARNING ORGANIZATION

By Fred Leland and John Demand

Vision

To better develop a Police Department’s organizational culture we must recognize that it be a learning organization that is dedicated to innovation. This is typified by an environment within which every single person in the organization is invested in the organization’s success and feels a responsibility to implement new and better ways to achieve organizational objectives.

All of us must be encouraged to try alternative paths, test new ideas even to the point of failure, and learn from our collective experience. Experimentation and prudent risk-taking must be admired and encouraged. Experimentation is not a destination to be reached, but an unending process of trial, feedback, learning, renewal and experimentation that leverages lessons learned from the past i.e. “learning from experience.” Experience can be a reliable teacher and guide when it is relevant to the contemporary and future operating environment and missions. It must be filtered, processed and stored in the brain using enduring principles and useful, reliable thought models. In other words, our mission must be a constantly evolving process of working “as one” through individual action and the collective power of our organization and community.

The learning and innovative organization as a whole is agile, ready to learn, continually changing and improving. It is fast, flexible and never prepared to say: “We have finished getting better.” Innovative and learning organizations depend less on forecasting, planning and control and more on scanning, adaptability and feedback depending on the circumstances. Innovative organizations embrace uncertainty, recognizing that an evolving future potentially holds as many opportunities as it does threats to the community.

Mission

Protect and serve while satisfying community needs every day in every way, utilizing adaptable, safe and effective strategies, operational methods and tactics. We must realize that prevention is more important than reaction

Values and Attributes

Ethics define where we as individuals stand on issues, and how we approach those issues as we come to an understand them. Our ethics constrain us to courses of action that are morally acceptable when we decide. Growth in the ethical base boosts our leadership pillars (communication, understanding and decision-making) to enable greater achievement.

Values represent the set of principles common to all officers, elevated above that of individual ethics. Leaders who stand on that same elevated base with their officers share their motivations and views of the world with the officers they lead. Because of the unity that springs from values, leaders and police officers enjoy simplified communications, moral understanding and the implicit decision processes within our organization.

Law enforcement must embrace a unified philosophy, and decentralized approach to leading, realizing that “every officer is a problem solver” This philosophy then translates to a police department prepared to adapt, rapidly identify, and solve problems for the community it serves.

Leadership values of TRUST, STRENGTH OF CHARACTER, RESTRAINT and the understanding of WHY, we chose this profession and operate in a purpose driven manner, are to compliment classic values and attributes toward good law enforcement problem solving and decision making. These are the key attributes a law enforcement officer should posses and aspire to:

  • Rapid decision maker -this enables rapid decision-making without conscious awareness or effort.
  • Critical thinker-the ability to achieve understanding, evaluates viewpoints, and solves problems.
  • Self aware-an understanding of one’s own strengths and weaknesses.
  • Social skills-the ability, to assess people’s strengths and weaknesses, the use of communication skills, and the art of listening.
  • Honesty-executes with fairness and straightforward conduct.
  • Forward looking-maintains situational awareness and able to anticipate problems and take calculated risks.
  • Inspiring-able to arouse unity, focus and execution.
  • Competent-possesses knowledge and critical skills and can translate “knowledge and skills” to real world problems.
  • Tenacity-resilient and able to adapt accordingly by maintaining focus of effort on overall intent of mission.
  • Open-mindedness-the ability to look at other viewpoints and options while continuing to learn, unlearn and relearn while solving problems.

These leadership traits are designed to promote the quality of character in leaders and officers. This enables initiative, innovation and a bias for action to cultivate among all within the organization based on our mission and vision.

Stay Oriented!